Hello, I’m a regular Betty on Steve’s Sunday strolls. We were just leaving home when I saw a message saying Steve was indisposed and unable to lead our planned Sunday Stroll. Undaunted, my Bert said, ‘Let’s go anyway, perhaps some of the others will miss the message and turn up.’
One of the reasons my Bert was so keen to continue with the stroll was to see just how low the water level in Bramiana Reservoir, near Ierapetra had fallen. This first photo was taken on our visit in January 2008, just before the winter rains set in.
As you can see from the second photo, the drought this year was, and still is causing concern. Last winter in East Crete only delivered 25% of the usual rainfall.
At the appointed meeting time another Bert and two Betties arrived, and like us said they still wanted to stroll. The first part of the track had that lovely sticky herb called Dittrichia that to me is one of the scents of Crete. Tatty remains of caper plants edged the path interspersed with dried grasses waving in the breeze.
Bert (not mine) seemed quite impressed when I pointed out the very intact remains of a watermill. The water used to run along a channel in the top then drop down to turn a wheel. When we walked closer we paused and pondered over the other ruined buildings guessing they may have been grain/flour stores and miller’s homes.
Just after this, the three other strollers returned to their car while my Bert and I set off to walk right around the puddle that used to be a reservoir.
"What are those birds on the water?" I asked my Bert.
Oh, now we missed Steve with his long focus camera and expertise. Our answer, unless anyone knows different, is a flock of black blobs. (I think that they are probably Coots - Steve) I can just imagine flocks of migrating wildfowl coming in to land where the water should be and circling around squawking at each other to check if they’d come to the right place.
A bit further on and Bert whipped his binoculars out to see what bird had just landed – he said it was a heron. Looking at my photos when back home I got very excited to see the turtle – it is isn’t it?? On previous visits we have certainly seen turtles on exposed rocks basking in the sun. (Yes; two mallards, a turtle and a heron - Steve) Other birds spotted on our walk included a tuneful blue rock thrush, goldfinches, grey herons, mallards, a white goose, various gulls and falcons.
All being well, normal service will resume with Steve next week and by then I shall be back in the UK for a few months eager to get my fix of the Crete nature via this great blog.
Me? Oh, I’m a blogger too and you can find me at www.kritsayvonne.com
My greatest thank to Yvonne and Alan Payne for taking over and leading this Sunday Stroll and particularly to Yvonne for writing this week's blog. It is at this point that I usually bang on about my book, Not Just For... Twisted Women, but this week I think it only fair to highlight Yvonne's excellent historical novels Kritsotopoula and the recently released follow up Rodanthe's Gift...
Years later, the ruling Pasha orders Rodanthe’s kidnap intent on making her his wife. Determined not to yield, Rodanthe tricks the Pasha, and then flees to the mountains dressed as a young man. After joining rebels as Spanomanolis (Beardless Manolis), she draws on her unusual experiences and rare education to maintain her disguise throughout daring raids.
Now, honored as Kritsotopoula (Girl of Kritsa), villagers celebrate Rodanthe’s exploits annually in front of a poignant stone carving. This monument portrays the moment in 1823 when brave Rodanthe's secret was exposed – a point mirrored as this story culminates with a twist.
Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa - Yvonne Payne
In January 1823, four mourners stand over the shrouded body of the exceptional female rebel, Rodanthe. Each suffers the loss of a daughter, friend, lost love or valued ally.Her injured papa, Mathaios, kneels at her graveside, begging forgiveness for his sinful decision to keep her baptismal gold a secret. He later bequests the remaining coins to her young friend Petros. A gift with consequences beyond imagination.Kostas loved Rodanthe, but only realised this truth moments before her death. Now dependent on others for his mobility, he resolves to play a significant role in the continuing conflict.When rebel leader Captain Kazanis leaves the graveyard, his focus is on leading the local fight for freedom. However, betrayal and grief take him far beyond his beloved Crete.Such is the importance of Rodanthe and Kazanis, their home villages in Crete hold annual remembrance services for them, and on the Greek mainland, the place renamed The Sacred City of Missolonghi holds an annual re-enactment of the exodos in The Garden of Heroes. 'Yvonne Payne’s no-holds-barred historical adventure rips along at a breathless pace. I loved it.' - Richard Clark, acclaimed author of Eastern Crete – A Notebook and other Greek travel guides.
Ha Canyon (lower part)
Sunday 4th November
(Details next week)
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